East Asia Forum: The United States abandoned economic leadership in Asia four years ago. Rather than promote and strengthen the multilateral institutions and frameworks that underpin Asia’s prosperity, the United States under President Trump began systematically undermining them: from the WTO, WHO and Paris Agreement, to military alliances with Japan and South Korea, bilateral trade ties and cooperation in regional forums. What can Biden do to instil confidence in a region still battered and bruised from four years of the Trump administration waywardness? - By the Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU.
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Results for Opinion
Monday 22 February 2021
Friday 12 February 2021
We know many people are asking when vaccines will be available in Pacific countries. We anticipate that in 2021, demand will vastly exceed supply. But this doesn’t mean we should just sit and wait. PICs now need to focus on preparing, so they are ready when the first vaccines do arrive. This includes starting pre-registration for priority groups. It means making sure the systems are in place and working, for delivering vaccines and monitoring their safety and effectiveness. This requires investments to strengthen health systems, which will bring benefits beyond COVID-19. By Dr Takeshi Kasai.
Wednesday 10 February 2021
Washington DC, U.S.A
America and China should cooperate in space. Although the United States can no longer take its extraterrestrial dominance for granted, it remains the leading player, while China’s space capabilities are growing fast. Most important, both countries, along with the rest of the world, would benefit from a set of clear rules governing the exploration and commercialization of space. By Anne-Marie Slaughter and Emily Lawrence.
Tuesday 26 January 2021
New York, USA
Just as political leaders like Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro have forced a reckoning about the historical persistence of fascist politics, so have their disastrous responses to the COVID-19 pandemic renewed the relevance of the concept of genocide. How else are we to come to grips with so many culpably avoidable deaths? As in Brazil, Indigenous communities in the US have suffered disproportionately from the pandemic. By Federico Finchelstein and Jason Stanley.
Tuesday 12 January 2021
Though mainstream observers were shocked that Donald Trump increased his support among many ethnic minority groups in the 2020 election, this should not have come as a surprise. The common thread linking the Trump base has little to do with demographics, and much more to do with a personality type. As president, Trump not only deployed racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, and Islamophobic rhetoric, but actually baked it into his policies. So why does the 45th president appeal to so many voters whose ethnic, religious, and sexual identities he has mercilessly disparaged? Unless we improve our understanding of these voters’ overriding identification with those able and willing to exercise power, and their own latent thirst for power, we risk being blindsided by it again. By Yasheng Huang.
Monday 4 January 2021
At the current pace of repatriation it will take over a year to return home all of those abandoned abroad. We run the risk of slipping into the depths of economic and mental depression, and we may see the fragmentation of our society, both at home and abroad, if we don’t immediately grasp the advent of vaccines and start building the bridges. At Easter it will be a full year from the closing of the border. It is time to prepare for the “new beginning”, the new life. By Paul Karalus.
Thursday 31 December 2020
Washington DC, USA
Corruption exists in all sectors and its impacts are universally negative, but corruption in public infrastructure is particularly nefarious for low-income countries. Estimates of losses to bribery in construction, which lies downstream from procurement, are as high as 45 percent of construction costs. In some situations, misconduct may not even be considered particularly harmful or wrong by the participants – as illustrated by the oft used term for corruption: the price of doing business. This doesn’t happen in a vacuum; corruption is enabled by the conventions and approaches that have been allowed to develop over time. By Ian Hawkesworth
Wednesday 30 December 2020
London, United Kingdom
In the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was common to divide countries and their responses according to their political systems, with many attributing China’s success in controlling the virus to its authoritarianism. As of late 2020, however, it is clear that the real dividing line is not political but geographical. Regardless of whether a country is democratic or authoritarian, an island or continental, Confucian or Buddhist, communitarian or individualistic, if it is East Asian, Southeast Asian, or Australasian, it has managed COVID-19 better than any European or North American country. The fact remains that you were much likelier to die of COVID-19 in 2020 if you were European or American than if you were Asian. - By Bill Emmott
Friday 11 December 2020
I agree with you that the PACER Plus trade agreement is of questionable benefit for Tonga. But I do not share your concern for Tonga’s trade deficit. Over the last year, Tonga’s foreign reserves have increased about 19% to the equivalent of nearly 10 months’ imports. If the balance of trade were a problem for Tonga, its foreign reserves would be declining. - Leigh Harkness
Tuesday 8 December 2020
According to the conventional wisdom, the twenty-first century will be characterized by the global shift from American hegemony to Sino-American rivalry. But a bipolar international order is neither inevitable nor desirable, and in fact, would be deeply unstable. Its emergence would heighten the risk of violent conflict and three of the biggest challenges facing humanity would either be ignored or made worse. We should start imagining and working toward alternative arrangements. - By Daron Acemoglu.
Friday 27 November 2020
Fakamolemole pea hufanga he fakatapu ki he Hau e ‘Otu Tonga, Hou’eiki, Pule’anga ‘o Tonga mo hono Falealea kae ‘umaa e Tonga kotoa. Kae fai atu mu’a ha fakatalanoa hei’ilo na’a tokoni ki he’etau langa fonua. - ‘Inoke Fotu Hu'akau.
Wednesday 25 November 2020
Washington DC, USA
Though it has not come as a surprise, the attack on the credibility of the 2020 election by US President Donald Trump and his Republican Party cannot simply be brushed under the rug of history. Once the norms that underpin constitutional democracy have been tossed aside, there is little left to fight for. America’s failures to address past injustices – including the subjugation of indigenous peoples, slavery, racism, and the deprivations of the poor, immigrants, and the incarcerated – helps to explain why trust in democratic institutions has been so corroded in the first place. Having been made brittle, America’s institutions have long been vulnerable to attack. By Katharina Pistor
Saturday 21 November 2020
Fasi mo e Afi, Tonga
The first question of course is: what are Tongan traditions or traditional customs? Traditions in any place at any time are continuously subject to changes, especially in, what Chinese call, 'interesting' times. One thing is clear: you had in pre-missionary times chiefs and commoners. The commoners were essentially slaves, and any chief could do with them as he pleased. Briefly: the word of the chief was the law. So no need any more of judges, laws or even a Constitution. And after this law change we do not need churches any more, as they are not traditional, and all the faifekau will be fired. And, of course, most parliamentarians are commoners. - Firitia.
Friday 20 November 2020
London, United Kingdom
For much of its life, the United Nations has hidden behind the comfortable maxim that, “If we didn’t have it, we would have to invent it.” Now at the venerable age of 75, the organization still enjoys widespread approval in global opinion polls. But beneath the surface, the UN faces difficulties that cannot be ignored. The Security Council will remain ineffectual until it is reformed, which is a distant prospect. But there are ways around this paralysis. By Mark Malloch-Brown.
Thursday 19 November 2020
COVID-19 continues to have a devastating impact on public health and to rattle the global economy with structural shocks. The pandemic has now killed more than one million people, while the International Monetary Fund estimates that global GDP will shrink by 4.4% in 2020. But, strange as it may seem, the current crisis could offer developing countries a path toward greater economic self-reliance. By Syed Munir Khasru.
Monday 16 November 2020
Oxford, United Kingdom
The last time the world faced challenges as serious as those facing us now was in the period immediately following World War II. At that time there was an extraordinary burst of international institutional creativity, led by the United States. The late 1940s saw the creation of the IMF, the World Bank, the Marshall Plan, the United Nations, which the WHO joined in 1948, and the GATT, now the WTO. If countries in Asia want a multilateral system to survive, they need to promote, use and improve it. The G20 Summit in Riyadh on 20–21 November will provide an opportunity to push forward this agenda. By David Vines / East Asia Forum.
Sunday 8 November 2020
Joe Biden has won the US presidency, but he will have a hard time restoring ethical concerns in a country with so many voters who have become indifferent to the well-being of those outside their immediate communities. Donald Trump has been defeated, but the election showed that more Americans than ever have come to identify with his narcissism. By Peter Singer
Tuesday 3 November 2020
Whoever claims victory in the US presidential contest this week, Washington’s grasp over Asia’s future is on the wane. The world’s confidence in US power and the moral authority it once commanded and the capacity to deploy it are much diminished. Even the most energetic and driven administration won’t restore it easily, soon or perhaps ever. ...The reality is that small and middle powers in Asia now have to play an unfamiliar leadership role. This ominous responsibility will remain long after the 46th President of the United States settles into the White House. By East Asia Forum editors.
Thursday 29 October 2020
Ann Arbor-MI, USA
Unlike the old superpower contest between the United States and the Soviet Union, the incipient cold war between China and the US does not reflect a fundamental conflict of unalterably opposed ideologies. Instead, today’s Sino-American rivalry is popularly portrayed as an epic battle between autocracy and democracy. ...The idea that we can choose only between freedom in an American-style democracy and order in a Chinese-style autocracy is false. The real aim of governance is to ensure pluralism with stability – and countries everywhere must find their own path to this goal. By Yuen Yuen Ang
Tuesday 27 October 2020
London, United Kingdom
For those who have only ever known America as a champion of democracy and the rule of law, it has been tragic to witness the country's descent into corruption and bad-faith partisanship. And nowhere is the rule of "dark money" more evident than in the rushed confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett's appointment to the Supreme Court. By Chris Patten.